LTM, an apart Manufacture: great ambitions and… small calibres!

Temps de lecture : 2 minutes

{Article originally featured in JSH 2022}. Only a few professionals know it as LTM, an industrial pearl from Fleuris dedicated to watch movements. Behind this initials stands Le Temps Manufactures, the most discreet movement maker on the market.

By Vincent Daveau, watchmaker, journalist and historian
Read it on the Swiss Watch Journal JSH®, special issue SSC Société Suisse de Chronométrie
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Feuilles volantes sous un vent de créativité, dans le département R&D de LTM.

LTM masters almost all watchmaking skills

Established in 2008, Le Temps Manufactures is housed in the former premises of Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier in the heart of the Val-de-Travers in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. On the podium at the International Congress of Chronometry 2022, Christophe Lüthi relates, with detailed technical data, the latest developments in two very small mechanical calibres. In the world of motorists, this LTM line is rather unusual. It could well meet the market’s needs, and even stimulate new creative desires, particularly now that leading brands are increasingly exploring jewellery territories.

By developing its Methods and Techniques department, LTM aims to develop “private label” products in 2014. The idea is to offer movements that meet the expectations of customers and final buyers.

Small, but reliable and of high quality

The focus was on producing small mechanical calibres which, although marginal in a world where watches have large diameters, are still needed to create timepieces with original shapes or time-keeping jewellery. The idea was to gain a market share in a sector where there was no real quality offering.

Dans l’œil de mire du CEO Christophe Lüthi: la production de calibres de petites tailles, marginale dans un monde où les montres ont de forts diamètres, demeure nécessaire pour la création de garde-temps aux formes originales ou de bijoux donnant l’heure

Le calibre LTM 2000, la version manuelle et la version baptisée LTM 2100 à remontage automatique sont des cœurs qui ont été conçus sur les bases de mouvements anciens des années 1990 élaborés par la manufacture Frédéric Piguet. Ces cœurs alors considérés comme les plus petits du marché portaient les références FP 6.10 et FP 6.15. Malgré leur similarité avec les modèles d’antan, la mise au point de ceux proposés par LTM a demandé 3 ans de développements. Les deux font 6 3⁄4 lignes et ont un diamètre d’encageage de 15,3 mm.

The manual-winding version is 2.10 mm thick and has a 40-hour power reserve, while the automatic one is 3.70 mm thick with a platinum weight, or 3.90 mm thick with a tungsten weight

Meeting a need

For the manufacturer, the aim was not to create a “clone” of an existing product, but to produce a small, reliable and precise movement. After extensive development work, and in order to improve both running stability and precision, the regulating organs have been upgraded to 3.5 Hertz.

Plus petits en diamètre qu’une pièce de 5 centimes (19,5) ou qu’une pièce de 1 centime d’euro (16,25), les calibres LTM 2000 et LTM 2100 conservent le diamètre d’encageage des anciens calibres 6.10 et 6.15 de Frédéric Piguet, à savoir 15.30 mm

All LTM 2000 components were checked and made reliable, and those that could be magnetized were replaced by others made of non-magnetic stainless steel. The entire caliber then passed a series of tests for resistance to contemporary wear and tear (shocks, wear, magnetism).

After analyzing the highly satisfactory results, LTM has launched the LTM 2000 manual-winding movement on the market in the first half of 2022. Available in six hands heights and numerous finishings, it should appeal to demanding brands looking for a quality heart designed to power very small watches. Or sometimes even to larger timepieces whose calibers are relegated to a corner to make room for animations or finishes that are a little “overwhelming.”

Plus de 100 collaborateurs oeuvrent à Fleurier, dans les anciens locaux de Vaucher Manufacture

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